ZIP code 46218: Most violent, challenged area in city

INDIANAPOLIS - Statistically speaking, ZIP code 46218 on the city’s northeast side is the most dangerous place to live in Indianapolis, if not the entire state of Indiana.

The area is overwhelmed with crime and overrun with a myriad of social problems, but it is also an area that hasn’t given up hope.

The area faces seemingly insurmountable challenges -- including crime, jobs, income and education.

For the 31,000 people that reside in the ZIP code, 46218 is 9.4 square miles of social ills, beginning with a homicide rate that led the city and accounted for 15 percent of all homicides in Indianapolis. In 2013, the area led the city in non-fatal shootings.

Barber Greg Woodgett said the neighborhood has been in decline for nearly three decades.

"It's not like there's a lot of job opportunities, a lot of young kids looking for jobs. That's basically what contributes to the crime for me," Woodgett said.

The ZIP code suffers from an unemployment rate of 22 percent, more than three times the State's unemployment rate. One in three residents lives below the federal poverty rate. All of the issues contribute to a high level of the population's misery index.

"Abandoned homes, stray dogs, stray cats, drugs. I'm moving out of the neighborhood. Because I want a better place for my kids to live," area resident Lucille Lewis said.

For many who live in the ZIP code, moving isn't an option.

Home values are less than half of what homes in the rest of the state are valued at. Less than 10 percent of the residents have a college degree and 16 percent of the households are led by single parents like Lyndsay Coe.

"This is the one house that I've actually been in that I do not feel safe at all. And I've never felt that way," Coe said.

Number one in social ills, but 46218 is a ZIP code not without hope. The Forest Manor Multi-Service Center serves more than 5,000 unemployed and hungry youth and senior citizens.

"We do hope that people in this city will look at this ZIP code and see like we do, this is a ZIP code that is hopeful that we get the resources to continue to achieve the goals when it comes to violence and crime," CEO Regina Marsh said.

From the 46218 ZIP code, residents can see City Hall and they in turn hope that city leaders can see that they have not given up on themselves or their neighborhood.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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